Ubuntu Touch OTA-10 Release

21 août 2019

Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-10! OTA-10 is immediately available for all supported Ubuntu Touch devices. You can skip to How to get OTA-10 to get it right away if you're impatient, or read on to learn more about this release.

What's new?

This release polishes up this stage of Ubuntu Touch development, and includes many small fixes that should please all users. It also contains some hardware compatibility improvements for the Nexus 5, Fairphone 2, and Oneplus One!

You can find a full changelog for this release in the changelog section below.

Hardware compatibility

Thanks to Ratchanan, we have some excellent hardware updates.

To start, Fairphone 2 users will be happy to know that we've implemented proper checking for Android's reported camera orientation. This means that we are able to work with all of the Fairphone 2 camera revisions successfully. No more upside-down selfies!

During implementation, we found that some of our older devices had incorrect data presented by Android. Knowing this, we added a manual override system to the automatic checks. This was done in a modular way so that any porters who run into this issue in the future will be able to solve the problem.

These fixes also helped with the Nexus 5 and Oneplus One. Any problems with audio and video sync when recording videos have been fixed! Now any videos recorded with either camera on these devices will be in-sync.

We also fixed some issues with the Fairphone 2's audio routing. Prior to these fixes, the left and right audio channels were swapped in some configurations.

Location, down to the screws

Sometimes you need to tear something down to build it up better.

We have removed the "wolfpack" Wi-Fi based geolocation tool from this update. This module used the Geoclue service to gather approximate location data. That resulted in a very fast location lock in some cases, but a very inaccurate lock in others. Removing the module improves the reliability of the location service in almost all cases.

With this module removed, some users will experience a very long delay (20 minutes or more) in retrieving the first location fix on their device. This should only occur if the device is not connected to a mobile network and location services have not been used for a very long time. After this delay has passed, future attempts to retrieve a cold (first time each boot) location lock will take up to four minutes. To help users make the best use of Ubuntu Touch location services and to help avoid this problem, we have written a guide Using location services and have added it to our documentation pages.

With the service working reliably again, we are experimenting with solutions that will make it possible for us to have reliable and fast location fixes. Most interesting among these is Ubuntu's locationd, which offers out-of-the-box support for the Mozilla Location Service assisted GPS solution.

And more!

Other changes for this release aren't quite big enough to get their own section here, but make life much better for everyone:

The default Messaging app, used for SMS and MMS messaging, now supports draft messages. You can begin writing a message, leave the chat, and come back to find that your message is still waiting for you to send. Pasting of phone numbers in the "To:" field and an issue with the header randomly switching between your contact's name and phone number were fixed. An option was added to allow the user to select whether to use the light or dark theme or the system preference.

Libertine, the legacy application manager, now allows you to search for packages in the archive and select one to install from a list.

In porting news, the PulseAudio modules enabling basic sound on Android 7.1 devices have been added. A mini SurfaceFlinger implementation has been added to enable the camera on some Android 7.1 devices.

Thank you

To everyone who made this release a reality, thank you. It's amazing to watch the list of contributors grow and change as the project continues. We're also happy to note that there were some great features proposed during this cycle that will be merged in OTA-11... The timing didn't work out for OTA-10, but that just makes the next one better!

Also, thank you to everyone who helped test OTA-10 after our 'Call for Testing' last week. You all helped us confirm that this release does what we say it does, and we're very grateful.

How can I help with the creation of Ubuntu Touch?

Ubuntu Touch is a community project driven mainly by volunteers. You and all others in the community will benefit from your contribution. Everyone is able to do something to help! If you're not sure where to start, you can e-mail us at [contribute at ubports dot com] or try some of these examples:

Development

We mark issues which probably have simple fixes with a good first issue tag. We also try to add hints which will help you fix the issue. These reports are kept waiting for a contributor so newcomers have a great place to learn the ropes. You may search on GitHub for issues with this tag using this search query.

We have documentation available to aid getting started with system software development. We're also building our app development documentation.

If you're interested in developing Ubuntu Touch apps, both the Notes and Music applications do not have an official maintainer. These apps are a great place to start If you're new to QML. You can test and submit improvements very easily with the help of Clickable. To get help and support when getting started with Ubuntu Touch development, you can join our Matrix room #ut_bootcamp:matrix.org. Developers gather there specifically to help newcomers get started with our development workflows. It is a friendly space, with the motto "There is no such thing as a stupid question!"

Writers

Great posts like this don't come out of nowhere. It takes many hours to write, edit and publish the excellent content our community has come to expect. The Writers' Team is responsible for this process. If you're interested in writing user tutorials, op-eds, or other long-form content, you can join us at #ubports_writers:matrix.org on Matrix.

Design and Graphics

Our designers and graphic artists are responsible for the images in this post. Particular kudos for the 10-fold peacock origami banner created by Joan (AKA Cibersheep). Every aspect of the Ubuntu Touch user experience is evaluated and coordinated by the Design and Graphics team. They coordinate at @UBports_UX on Telegram.

How to get OTA-10

What you should know first

There are a few issues which we expect many users to run into.

  • On larger screens (such as the BQ M10 and Nexus 7), the browser will close after opening a selection box while in landscape mode. ** Workaround: Either move the browser to a side stage (press with three fingers and drag to the right) or hold the device in portrait mode.
  • When switching between text boxes in the browser, the input type of the keyboard is not updated (for example, when going from a numbers-only text field to a URL field). ** Workaround: Dismiss the keyboard before changing text fields. This can be done by swiping the keyboard downward or tapping on the page in an area that is not a text field.
  • In the browser, selection boxes open in a new window. This will continue until a newer version of Mir is used, which will allow for drawing tooltips within the surface that created them.
  • On the Nexus 5, hardware video playback is not functional. Playing video using the web browser or another software-based decoder works properly. Unfortunately this means you cannot directly watch the videos you record using the camera.

Existing Ubuntu Touch users

Existing users of Ubuntu Touch in the stable channel (which is selected by default in the UBports Installer) will receive the OTA-10 udpate through the Updates screen of System Settings.

New Ubuntu Touch users

You will find instructions for installing Ubuntu Touch on your device at devices.ubuntu-touch.io.

"I found an issue!"

Have you found a bug? We want to know!

You can follow our Bug Reporting document to learn how to present the information we'll need to confirm and fix your issue. Every bit helps. The best way to improve Ubuntu Touch is to use it and then tell us about the experience.

You should always check to see whether your bug has already been reported on ubports/ubuntu-touch on Github. Browsing open bugs is worth doing, even if you have nothing to report. This ensures that you can watch for any of the open issues and help fix them by providing more information.

Changelog

This update has added a new SDK version, ubuntu-sdk-16.04.2. App developers, please use this framework if you would like to target the changes in this release.

[Alberto Mardegan]

[Joan Cibersheep]

[Florian Leeber]

[Jan Sprinz]

  • Add the new OPO bootsplash to the UBports Installer, for all users that don´t want to wait for OTA-11

["NotKit"]

  • Allow some cameras on devices with Android 7.1 to function: ubports/mir#13

["Kugi Eusebio"]

[Christian Pauly]

["arubislander"]

[Brian Douglass]

[Chris Clime]

[fredldotme]

[Dalton Durst]

[Ratchanan Srirattanamet]

[Johannes Renkl]

[Rodney Dawes]